I think EA is missing education as a priority. Here are the best reading on the subject.

Education and Health: Redrawing the Preston Curve Wolfgang Lutz Endale Kebede

Global Sustainable Development priorities 500 y after Luther: Sola schola et sanitate Wolfgang Lutz

Hunger and Public Action by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze

all of them freely available online to read


Helping the poorest without managing birth control creates vicious circle

High fertility and death rates are normal for illiterate societies, this has been the way we lived for 1000's of years. The way to low fertility and low death rates is via basic education.

What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop?
-Social movements (eg Fair Trade, Black Lives Matter, drug reform/prison reform movements)

I have been part of a few. Those perspectives are really useful.

· Global poverty that isn’t health. I'd like to see a handful of people in EA with expertise in, for example, climate policy, or education charities, or energy poverty in a developing world context.

Education and Human Development Indicators are something that EA needs to pick up.

No takers so far. As can be seen from the votes on my comments.

Why not give 90%?

After spending more than half a billion dollars, and potentially directing more than 100 millon dollars every year. EA community has no understanding of why HDI was created, and has no answer for why Education was dropped.

"Global health and development" = HDI - Education

It is not a question of money, it is a question of Diversity and Inclusion.

My hypothesis is that if humanity really understands how the world works then the problems can be solved easily, otherwise we will keep putting effort into less effective ways, sure EA is more effective but it still has far to go, the deficit in EA is not money it is understanding.

Why not give 90%?

Thanks trammell. I notice that only you told me why, I assume I got 5 downvotes at a minimum.

While not directly on topic, giving more is about bigger impact, if D&I is poor EA impact is worse. That's why I responded. My thinking is that money is not the constraint an understanding or lack of it is the constraint in improving the world. For which EA needs open hearts and minds, not

AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell

Answer from Elie Hassenfeld source

Q) On Gender Inequality, reproductive health, etc., GiveWell hasn’t done much work on this. Do you see gender equality as having intrinsic value? What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment?


  • We’re broadly consequentialist in the giving that we do - focused on the direct impact on the world
  • We take that utilitarian perspective rather than the philosophical value of justice or helping the least
  • Focusing on equality per se has not been a focus for that reason
  • We could treat this differently by seeing gender inequality as an intrinsic value, rather than just an instrumental value.
  • Within the broader framework, we could treat it as an intrinsic value
  • It’s been a major challenge to weigh different good outcomes that charities do
    • Some charities improve health, some improve well-being
    • We try to solve this by using moral weights, to compare the good achieved by different charitable outcomes
    • These are things that we don’t have the right answers, and our approach to answer these have evolved over time
    • We used to take the median of what staff believe, to IDInsight to hear from beneficiaries on what they value
    • We now have a part of our team assigned to these questions, to decide which outcomes would have intrinsic weight
  • On reproductive health specifically, we’ve looked into that, and we couldn’t find charities that are competitive with our top charities
    • That’s still in the scope of where we’ll look into
Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter?

Interesting replacing "thing X" with "basic education" reads as follows

My four-fold “smell test” for what is important to development
I have a four-fold criteria for whether something is potentially an important determinant of development, or more narrowly, just economic growth, and I am happy if “basic education” that I am proposing is “good for development” can satisfy all four (and then can move on from these simple facts about potential importance to tease out complicated questions of proximal, distal, and reverse causality).
One, countries differ in their level of development by an order of magnitude. Countries that are developed should have more of basic education than countries that aren’t. If Denmark and Canada don’t have more of basic education than Mali or Nepal I am kind of suspicious.
Two, since now developed countries are almost an order of magnitude more developed than they were in 1870 I am happy if there is more of basic education in developed countries now than 140 years ago. If Germany and Japan don’t have more of basic education (or at least the same amount) than they did in 1870 I am kind of suspicious.
Three, since over the period since 1950 some countries have seen their development improve incredibly rapidly and others have seen almost no progress I am happy if basic education is more prevalent in rapid development successes than in development failures. If Korea and Taiwan don’t have more of basic education than Haiti and Nigeria then I am kind of suspicious.
Four, since countries change in their pace of development (and this is particularly true of economic growth, less so of human development indicators) dramatically over time, I am happy if there is more of basic education in a country in periods when development progress is rapid than in periods when development progress is slow. If China doesn’t have more of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth accelerated by 3.3 ppa) or if Cote d’Ivoire doesn’t have less of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth decelerated by 3.7 ppa) then I am kind of suspicious.

Basic education easily passes the first 3 tests. The final one also passes, with a time delay of 20 years (which is roughly the time it takes a kid to go through school and start working.)

human development indicators

good to see Lant Pritchett give a nod to human development indicators (and indirectly to the human development index)

accumulation of human capital, technological change, capability in the product space, or “institutions” (or, more deeply, what is cause and what is consequence amongst these elements themselves).

Good to see that room is left for human capital to be a cause and not merely a consequence, as most in EA seem to think

But nearly all contenders in debates about economic growth or development

Good to see subtle acknowledgement that "economic growth" and "development" can be different.

As a starting point EA should think from a human development standpoint, and not silently drop education from the definition of development.

AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell

Developing countries are very patriarchal, e.g. China, India have a distorted gender ratio at birth, women/girls lag in access to health care, education, power etc..

Given this, as far as I know GiveWell charities don't have a gender lens, neither do your reports talk much about gender.

Do you think a gender focus would be useful? If yes, why has this not been done.

If not, then why not?

Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

Thanks Aaron. I try not to assume anything, and usually ask for clarification. I should have done the same here.

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